Green Thumb is an agent for the highlighted playwrights
Rachel is an actor, playwright and now administrator born and raised in Vancouver. She made her professional acting debut with Green Thumb in their production of Souvenirs, and since then has appeared on stages across Western Canada. Her work as an actor has included new works, classics, musicals, and has taken her everywhere from a sold out 700 hundred seat theatre to a stage on the back of a flatbed pickup truck, performing in public parks for free. Rachel has been featured playing the cello, singing her heart out, and jumping onto a moving, four-horse chariot. Rachel’s first play, Still/Falling will appear in Green Thumb’s 2015/16 season, after comprehensive dramaturgical input from Patrick McDonald. Throughout her time as professional theatre artist, Green Thumb has always felt like home to Rachel, and has offered constant support to her in her artist endeavors. She can’t think of a better place to be making her next début – as an arts administrator.
Dave Deveau is an award-winning writer and performer whose plays and operas have been produced across Canada and in Europe. He is best known for his critically-acclaimed play My Funny Valentine which won him the Sydney Risk Prize for Outstanding Original Play by an Emerging Playwright, and was nominated for the Oscar Wilde Award for Best Writing and the Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding New Play. My Funny Valentine recently closed in Dublin, will be remounted at Vancouver’s Firehall Arts Centre in February, followed by a fall 2013 production in Johannesburg, South Africa. Past productions include: the musical Homecoming King (Ovation Award), Out in the Open (Green Thumb Theatre), Tiny Replicas (Gay Vancouver’s Top 10 Productions of 2011, now in development as a feature), and Nelly Boy (Zee Zee Theatre). Dave has written the libretti for two short operas for Toronto’s Tapestry New Opera Works and just premiered his latest as part of Tom Cone’s The Opera Project (with composer James Coomber) called Unnatural. He is currently working on commissions for Zee Zee Theatre, Sociable Films, and Theatre la Seizieme. Dave is the Playwright in Residence for Zee Zee Theatre and is currently curating Human Library for the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. His latest plays Celestial and Tagged will both premiere as part of Green Thumb Theatre’s 2013/14 season.
Dennis Foon is the author of over 20 plays that continue to be produced internationally in numerous languages. His work for the stage has earned him a British Theatre Award, two Chalmers awards, the Jessie Richardson Theatre Career Achievement Award and the International Arts for Young Audiences Award. Plays produced by Green Thumb Theatre include New Canadian Kid, Mirror Game and War.His writing for film and television have also earned him a number of awards including Writers Guild, Gemini and Leo Awards for the CBC TV movie Little Criminals. His teleplays include White Lies, Torso: The Evelyn Dick Storyand Terry, the acclaimed CTV drama on Terry Fox. His latest novel, The Keeper’s Shadow, the final book of his Longlight Legacy, will be released in Fall 2006.Dennis was the founding Artistic Director of Green Thumb Theatre.
For script requests and performance rights please contact Michael Petrasek, Kensington Literary Representation, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416.979.0187
Robin Fulford is a playwright, teacher, and the artistic director of Platform 9 Theatre in Toronto. His plays have been produced in Canada, the United States, and England. Poetic and intense, they provoke audiences to explore social issues.
Born, raised and based in Vancouver, Filipino-Canadian author C. E. Gatchalian writes drama, poetry, fiction and non-fiction. His plays, which include Broken, Crossing, Claire and Motifs & Repetitions, have appeared on stages nationally and internationally, as well as on radio and television. The recipient of numerous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the BC Arts Council, he has been Playwright-in-Residence at the Vancouver Playhouse and the Firehall Arts Centre, and Writer-in-Residence at the Berton House Writers’ Retreat in Dawson City, YT. Recent work includes his play for young audiences, People Like Vince, which was commissioned by Green Thumb Theatre, and Falling in Time, which premiered in Vancouver in November 2011 and was published by Winnipeg’s Scirocco Drama in April 2012. He is currently Co-Artistic Producer of Screaming Weenie Productions.
Meghan is a Vancouver based actor and playwright who has been touring her one woman show, Dissolve since 2003. She was commissioned by Green Thumb Theatre to write an adaptation of the piece, which resulted in Blind Spot, a play that toured Canada for two years. She was nominated for outstanding screenplay at the Leo Awards in 2010 for her documentary film about drug faciliated sexual assault, also inspired by Dissolve (and of the same name). After a playwriting residency at Green Thumb Theatre, Meghan premiered Role Call in the fall of 2011. She was nominated for the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards in 2011, and is in post-production for her first short film, entitled Stalled. Meghan’s monologue Blondie has been selected as part of the “Rattling the Stage Anthology” and will be published by McGraw-Hill Ryerson next year.
Please visitwww.meghangardiner.comfor more information on Meghan’s past, present and future projects.
David Holman has written more than 70 works for stage, radio, film and opera which have been performed for or by children. His work has been translated into many languages and has been produced on every continent.
Many of these works have explored environmental questions, including: Drink the Mercury about the effects of heavy metal pollution on the fishermen of Minamata in Japan; Adventure in the Deep about the despoliation of the oceans; Big Cat, Bad Coat and Solomon and the Big Cat both concerned with endangered species in Africa; Operation Holy Mountain on the second coming of the patron saint of animals, Francis of Assisi; and Whale, about three whales trapped in the ice off the shore of Alaska.
Holman lived for many years in Australia, where he made a huge contribution to the Theatre in Education repertoire with such plays as Peacemaker, No Worries and The Small Poppies. He also spent a year as Artist in Residence with Green Thumb Theatre in Vancouver, BC, where he created One in a Million, following the story of a boy living below the poverty line.
Holman has produced a stage adaptation of a story by Nikolai Gogol calledDiary of a Madman which toured the Soviet Union in 1991 after winning the Sydney Critics Prize. Further stage adaptations include Billy Budd andBeauty and the Beast. Currently, Mr. Holman lives in London, England.
Playwright, screenwriter, dramaturge, actor, critic, and teacher John Lazarus was born in Montreal in 1947. He graduated from the National Theatre School of Canada in 1969.
His plays include: Babel Rap (Troupe of Vancouver and City Stage, 1972), which has been produced hundreds of times across Canada by amateur, professional, and school groups, published in Playing the Pacific Province: An Anthology of B.C. Plays 1968-2000(eds. Ginny Ratsoy and James Hoffman, Playwrights 2001), and translated into French and German; Dreaming and Duelling ( New Play Society and Vancouver Playhouse , 1980), which has also played at the Phoenix Theatre in Edmonton (1982), Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary (1982), and published in 20 Years at Play (ed. Jerry Wasserman, Talonbooks 1990); The Late Blumer ( Arts Club Theatre 1984) and atLunchbox Theatre , Calgary in 1987, Alumnae Theatre , Toronto in 1989, and Nexus Theatre, Edmonton in 1989, and published in Four New Comedies (ed. Winston Smith, Playwrights 1987); Village of Idiots (Young People’s Theatre, Toronto 1985), and atWestern Canada Theatre Company in Kamloops, 1985, Alberta Theatre Projects 1986,Prairie Theatre Exchange , Winnipeg, 1989, Theatre Kingston in 2001, and publishedWest Coast Plays (ed. Alan Filewod, Borealis, 1998); The Illegal Playwriting Class (ATP 1987), Firehall Arts Centre, 1990, published in Instant Applause: The Best (Playwrights 2004); David for Queen ( Catalyst Theatre and Theatre Network , Edmonton 1988) and Cunard Street Theatre, Halifax, 1991; and ICE: Beyond Cool (DanceArts Vancouver 1997), national tour in 2000. Old Enough to Kill (Queen’s University 2011) speculates on the actions of Fleance, son of the murdered Banquo, who has evaded Macbeth’s machinations, and attempts to avenge his father, with the help of one of the “Weird Sisters.”
Lazarus is also the author of four one-act plays for young audiences, entitled Not So Dumb, published by Playwrights Press. Several of his plays for young people has been written for the Green Thumb Theatre for Young People , including Night Light (1987) about childhood fears which toured across Canada and the United States. These plays tackle difficult social and family issues in an engaging, entertaining way.
John Lazarus has also written for film, television, and radio, including the adaptation of material from Village of Idiots for a CBC Radio mini-series and an award-winning National Film Board cartoon. He has worked frequently as a dramaturge and adjudicator, and has written theatre reviews for several newspapers, including The Vancouver Province and The Georgia Straight. He acknowledges the limitations of the Canadian theatre critic, however. In ten to fifteen years of reviewing, he recalls only one shining moment when a theatre director told him that his review had made him re-think, and rework, a part of his play. He believes that the odds are greatly against that sort of thing happening, since the playwright may work with the play for years, the director for two months, the actors for two weeks, and the critic for only two hours.
He has taught playwriting and solo show technique at Studio 58 (Langara College) in Vancouver, the Vancouver Film School, and the National Theatre School of Canada . In 2000 he joined the Queen’s University Drama Department; as an Associate Professor he teaches playwriting, dramaturgy, and young people’s theatre, and continues to write plays, including Meltdown, produced by the students of the Drama Department in 2005.
Joan MacLeod was born and raised in North Vancouver—spending many summers in Glengarry County in Ontario where both her parents came from. As a young woman she spent much time traveling and working in Europe, northern Africa and northern Canada—the latter present in much of her work. She graduated from the University of Victoria in 1978, studying long and short fiction with Bill Valgardson and David Godfrey. In 1981 she started graduate school at U.B.C. in the Department of Creative Writing. She was still concentrating on prose but also started writing and publishing poetry at this time. In 1983 her first novel, unpublished, was shortlisted for the Seal Book First Novel Award. At U.B.C. she became good friends with Bill Gaston who still reads the first drafts of much of her work. In 1984 Joan went to Banff’s Advanced Writers’ Studio in Poetry. She met playwright Alan Williams there and, one snowy night in June, saw him perform an excerpt from his one man showThe Cockroach Triology. Between that and hearing an actor from the Playwrights’ Colony performing one of her poems Joan decided then and there (well nearly) on a life in the theatre. She began working on what became her first play Jewel a few months later.
In September 1985 Joan moved to Toronto, a first draft of Jewel in hand, tested out that summer at the Edmonton Fringe. She sent the script into Tarragon Theatre and was invited to join their Playwright’s Unit. In the Unit she started working on her first full length playToronto, Mississippi. Based on a first act of that play, Urjo Kareda decided to open Tarragon’s 87/88 season with Toronto, Mississippi in their Main Space. Six months earlier,Jewel, a last minute replacement for a cancelled show, premiered at Tarragon’s Extra Space. MacLeod was a last minute replacement for Jewel’s scheduled actor. With next to zero acting experience she performed the entire run of her play – 35 shows. This experience of course impacted tremendously the way she wrote for the stage. She also hopes to never appear as an actor on stage again. For seven years she was a playwright-in-residence at Tarragon Theatre and credits Urjo Kareda, who died in 2002, for giving her a home and a start in theatre.
Joan MacLeod’s plays include Jewel, Toronto, Mississippi, Amigo’s Blue Guitar, and The Hope Slide which all premiered at Tarragon. Little Sister and The Shape of a Girl were written for young audience but have played widely both in Canada and internationally. She continues to have an excellent working relationship with Green Thumb Theatre in Vancouver who commissioned The Shape of a Girl. 2000 which premiered in Ottawa at Great Canadadian Theatre Company also played at Tarragon. Homechild opened in January 2006 at CanStage in Toronto—Canada’s largest not-for-profit theatre. In 2009 Another Home Invasion opened at ATP in Calgary and Tarragon Theatre in Toronto – a co-production between the two theatres. Tarragon toured the production in 2010 and 2011 from Vancouver to Halifax – with four stops in between.
Joan MacLeod is the recipient of two Chalmers Canadian Play Awards and the Governor General’s Award. All of her plays have been produced extensively. The Shape of a Girl has been touring since its premiere five years ago, first in English and now in French and has been translated into six languages. In 2005 it toured the U.S.A. for six months including a two week run in New York City. Joan also writes poetry, prose and for television.Joan is the mother of Ana Celeste who was born in 1995. Her husband, Bill Loach, is a surveyor and avid sailor. They met on Bowen Island where they lived for ten years before moving to Victoria so that Joan could take a position as Assistant Professor of Writing with the University there.
Patrick McDonald has been Artistic Director of Green Thumb Theatre since 1987 and prior to that was the Artistic Director of Great Canadian Theatre Company (Ottawa, Ontario).
Patrick has directed numerous production for Green Thumb Theatre, includingThe Shape of a Girl, Problem Child, Leaps and Bounds, Tough!, Land of Trash and Showdown. Patrick won a 2001 Jessie for his direction of Derwent Is Different, which also won the $10,000 Canada Council Prize as Outstanding Production for Young Audiences, and a 2002 Jessie for Co$t of Living. In 1998, Patrick received a Jessie Award for Continued Excellence and Vision in Theatre for Young Audiences.
In recent years, he also directed 2000 (Playhouse) for which he received a Jessie nomination, Vigil (National Arts Centre), Fault Lines (Jesse Award, Green Thumb/Gateway), Escape from Happiness and Girl in the Goldfish Bowl (Arts Club). In 1999 Patrick directed George Walker’s Problem Child(Green Thumb Theatre) which received 6 Jessies in the Large Theatre category, including Outstanding Production and Outstanding Director.
Colleen Murphy was born in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec but grew up in a small town north of Lake Superior. She studied acting at Ryerson University and at the Strasberg Institute in New York. Her radio drama Fire Engine Red won third prize in the CBC Literary Competition in 1985, and that same year she was invited to join the Playwrights Unit at Tarragon Theatre under the direction of the late Urjo Kareda. In 1987 Tarragon produced her first play All Other Destinations Are Cancelled, directed by Martha Henry. Murphy subsequently left theatre to concentrate on her baby son and to pursue film, but remained part of the Tarragon Playwrights Unit until 1989.
In 1990, her radio drama Pumpkin Eaters won second prize in the CBC Literary Competition, and that year a screenplay she wrote Termini Station was nominated for a Genie for Best Original Screenplay.
Murphy directed her first short film Putty Worm which premiered at the 1993 Int’l Toronto Film Festival. Inspired by a trip she made to Auschwitz, the violence in the film outraged many viewers. As a 1994 director resident at the Canadian Film Centre, she completed her second short The Feeler which played at film festivals around the world, won a Golden Sheaf Award for Best Performance (Randy Hughson) at the 1996 Yorkton Film Festival and was nominated for a Genie for Best Short Film in 1996. In 1994 she also co-directed a workshop production of her second play Down in Adoration Falling, at Theatre Passe Muraille.
In 1995 she directed her first feature film, Shoemaker, for The Feature Film Project. It played in film festivals from Shanghai to New Mexico to India. The film premiered at the 1996 Toronto Int’l Film Festival, where it won the Audience Prize. It shared the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the 1997 Internationales Film festival Mannheim-Heidelberg, and it was nominated for three Genie Awards in 1998. In 1996, Richard Rose, the Artistic Director of Necessary Angel Theatre invited Murphy to become one of three Playwrights-in-Residence (along with Jason Sherman and David Young).
In 1998, Richard directed her third play, Beating Heart Cadaver. The play was nominated for both a Chalmers Award and a 1999 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama. It was published by Playwrights Canada Press.
In 1999 Murphy shot her second feature, Desire, a co-production with her company Subjective Eye (Toronto), Buffalo Gal Pictures (Winnipeg), and Bioskop Film (The Tin Drum) in Munich. Although Murphy felt that the film needed a longer editing process, a version premiered at the 2000 Toronto Int’l Film Festival and was the opening film at the 2000 Internationales Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg in Germany.
In 2002, Desire was nominated for two Genie Awards – Best Leading Actress and Best Leading Actor. Her short filmWar Holes premiered at the 2001 Internationales Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg in Germany, the Commonwealth Film Festival in Manchester, U.K, Festival Tres Courts in France, and at the 2002 Festival des Films Monde in Montreal. In 2002, her fourth play The Piper was produced by Necessary Angel Theatre and also directed by Richard Rose. It was published in 2003 by Playwrights Canada Press.
Following The Piper, Murphy left the theatre for two years. In that time she produced her fourth short film, Girl with Dog which premiered at the 2006 Festival des Films Monde in Montreal and had its European premiere at Internationales Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg. In January 2007 it was exhibited at Int’l Film Festival Rotterdam and also at FIPA – Int’l Festival of Audiovisual Programs in Biarritz, France.
Murphy began writing a libretto for Edmonton born composer Aaron Gervais, entitled The Enslavement and Liberation of Oksana G. A short scene from the opera was performed in March 2006 as part of Tapestry New Opera Works acclaimed series Opera to Go. Gervais and Murphy will finish the five-act opera by 2009/10.
She returned to the theatre with a new play The December Man (L’homme de décembre) which won the 2006 Enbridge playRites Award. The play premiered at Alberta Theatre Projects at the Enbridge playrites Festival of New Canadian Plays in February 2007 under the direction of Bob White. It was nominated for a Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding New Play and won the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award for English Language Drama.
Murphy has been accepted into the McDowell Colony, and she has attended the Banff playrites Colony several times. She has worked as a story editor and she has been the recipient of numerous grants from the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, Telefilm Canada and Astral’s Harold Greenburg Fund. Murphy has served on many juries for theatre (The Carol Bolt Award, and the Alberta Writers Guild and the Toronto Arts Council) and film (The Canadian Film Centre, the Genie Awards, Telefilm Canada).
In 2007/06, Murphy was the first Playwright in Residence at the University of Regina. She was the Playwright Facilitator at Sage Hill Writing Experience in 2006 and 2007 and will return to Sage Hill again in 2008. Currently, Murphy is Playwright in Residence at Tapestry New Opera Works in Toronto. She is also President of the Board of Playwrights Canada Press, and an Advisor to the Board of Directors of the Alliance of Canadian New Music Projects. She is a member of the Writer’s Guild of Canada, the Writers Union of Canada, the Playwrights Guild of Canada, Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal, and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.
Jamie is a multi-talented theatre professional, enjoying success as an actor, playwright, and director since graduating from The Vancouver Playhouse Acting School. Plays written for Green Thumb include Speed, Showdown, Derwent is Different (Jessie Award winner for Outstanding Production for Young Audiences), Give & Take and Leaps & Bounds (Jessie Award winner for Outstanding Original Script, and Outstanding Production for Young Audiences.) Other plays include November (Theatre BC Canadian National Playwrighting Competition – First Prize), Samariton (Solo Collective). Selected acting credits: The Cripple of Inishman (Arts Club), Twelfth Night (Bard on the Beach), Of Mice and Men (Vancouver Playhouse),Popcorn (Sea Theatre). Selected directing credits: The Palace Grande(Dawson City), True West (Humdinger Productions), Seven Stories(Guild Theatre, Whitehorse), Scraping the Surface (Theatre Terrific),Land of Trash (Green Thumb Theatre). Jamie also served as Artistic Director of Theatre Terrific from 1993-1997. He has been nominated for six Jessie Richardson awards and was the winner of the 2000 Canadian Playwriting Competition.
Michael graduated acting from Studio 58 in Vancouver in 1995. His acting credits include stage, TV and feature films. Notable stage credits include Mojofor Weatern Theatre Conspiracy and The Overcoat for The Vancouver Playhouse, both of which won multiple Jessie awards. Michael has also written many stage productions, which include: A Dog Called Bitch, Young Offenders – Vancouver Fringe Fest 2004, Reservations For Two, Chiarelli Productions, also Stuck! and This Fringe Venue Is now Being Held Hostage, both produced by his own company Young Offenders.
Playwright, actor, and director Morris Panych is a man for all seasons in Canadian theatre. He has directed over eighty productions, and written more than two dozen plays that have been produced across Canada, Britain, and the United States.
Panych was born in 1952 in Calgary and grew up in Edmonton, Alberta . He received a diploma in radio and television arts from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, and then studied creative writing at the University of British Columbia (BFA, 1977), and theatre at East 15 acting school in London, England. He works primarily in Vancouver, and more recently, Montreal.
His first play, Last Call – A Postnuclear Cabaretpremiered at the Tamahnous Theatre , Vancouver in 1982, and has been produced independently across the country, including by the Globe Theatre , Regina (March 2003), directed by Ruth Smillie. It was also adapted as a television show by the CBC asLast Call – The Television Show. This apocalyptic musical co-starred Panych and his partner, Ken MacDonald , and MacDonald also wrote and played the music. MacDonald’s set designs have been an important element in most of Panych’s plays.
As artistic director of Tahmanous, Panych co-wrote two more musicals with MacDonald:Contagious (1984), and Cheap Sentiment (1985); and both Panych and MacDonald performed in Simple Folk, Songs of a Generation (1987), which toured to the Soviet Union. In 1989 the Arts Club Theatre in Vancouver produced 7 Stories , followed by The Necessary Steps in 1991, and The Ends of the Earth in 1992. Earshot premiered at the Tarragon Theatre in 2001, and was remounted in a joint production by Vancouver Playhouse and Alberta Theatre Projects in 2002.
In 1995 Vigil premiered at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria, and won Vancouver’s Jessie Richardson Award for best play. Vigil has been performed in over thirty theatres in Canada and the United States, including the Tarragon in 1996, the Phoenix in Edmonton in 1996, in San Diego in 1997, and in Washington to sold-out houses. In 2002, under the title Auntie and Me it played at the Edinburgh Festival, and in January 2003 opened at Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End with Alan Davies as Kemp and Margaret Tyzack as Aunt Grace. In 2012, it premiered in French as Vigile (ou Le veilleur Théâtre du Rideau Vert .Panych wrote and directed Lawrence & Holloman for the Tarragon Theatre in 1998. In 1998 he co-created and directed The Overcoat, a physical theatre piece in which choreographed movement and music function in place of dialogue. This production toured across Canada. Panych also directed the television version of The Overcoat.
His play, Girl in the Goldfish Bowl, premiered at the Arts Club Theatre in 2002. The Dishwashers also premiered at the Arts Club Theatre, and What Lies Before Us atCanadian Stage in 2007 (dir. Jim Millan.)The Trespassers opened at the Stratford Festival in 2009 (dir. Panych). The Trespassers is a coming-of-age story, focusing on the relationship of a young teenage boy with his anarchist, atheist grandfather and his born-again Christian mother, the one determined to “educate” him in life, and the other to protect him. Both the small town in which it is set, and the grandfather are dying, and the play’s preoccupation with death reflects Panych’s recent loss of his own parents. The play is also informed by ethical debates over the Ten Commandments, and the meaning of “trespassing.” It has subsequently been staged at the Belfry Theatre (Fall 2010), and Vancouver Playhouse(Spring 2011).Montreal’s SideMart Theatrical Grocery premiered Panych’s Gordon in October 2010 (dir. Andrew Shaver). Gordon is set in the urban wasteland of Hamilton, Ontario, featuring two men and a girl on a crime spree who hide out in a rundown house, and their response to the owner, a derelict left over from the bust of the steeltown boom, who also happens to be one of the crook’s father, with the same name –“Gordon.” It explores the ironic dimensions of family legacies and responsibilities.
In Absentia, about a woman’s attempt to deal with the lengthy absence of her husband, captured by insurgents in Columbia, through a relationship with a young tansient who comes to her door, premiered at the Centaur Theatre in 2012, directed by Roy Surette . For the 2012 Stratford Festival season, Panych and MacDonald developed a musical about Robert Service entitled Wanderlust.
Panych’s plays for young people – Cost of Living (1990), 2B WUT UR (1992), and Life Science (1993) were produced by Green Thumb Theatre , and have toured extensively. They are published under the title, Other Schools of Thought.
Panych has acted in over fifty plays, and in television series such as X-Files. Recent directing credits include Nothing Sacred (2004) and The Doctor’s Dilemma (2010) at theShaw Festival.He has won the Jessie Richardson Award twelve times for acting and directing. He has won Toronto’s Dora Mavor Moore Award for The Girl in the Goldfish Bowl and a Chalmers Award. In 1995 he was awarded the Governor General’s Award for Drama for The Ends of the Earth, and in 2004 for The Girl in the Goldfish Bowl.
Panych claims to have no theories about theatre, only a certain need for liberation: “I sense that to illustrate through theatre a multiplicity of truths, is to allow the audience to begin to reclaim truths of its own. To look at a play and say, ‘this a pretence invented out of nothing. These characters are trapped inside problems that don’t even exist,’ and yet to remain committed to that reality for a time just for the hell of it, to begin to understand what the power of theatre is. Not to mention life. The power to question. . . . What’s important to me now, as always, is to keep things moving. And that’s it. My entire theory of theatre. To keep changing. Rediscovering. Questioning not only the accepted ideas of theatre, but the reversal of those ideas as well. (Canadian Theatre Review 76 :58-59).
His plays are characterized by existential themes and “theatre of the absurd” style and sensibility. They typically set their interrogations of the meaning of life in culturally and nationally neutral locales, and they pose broad philosophical questions on human interaction and isolation, on the nature of good and evil, and on the relationship between fantasy and reality.All of Panych’s plays are black comedies that oscillate between hope and despair. InVigil a solitary young bank employee impatiently awaits the death of a silent, bedridden old woman, whom he believes is his aunt, filling the time with ruminations and recollections, and one-liners on mortality. In a programme note for the West End production, Panych dedicates the play “to all who have died and all who’ve not yet got around to it.” According to Times critic Benedict Nightingale, the impression of a “laugh-riot for masochistic no-hopers en route to the Netherlands with their suicide-packs” is mitigated by the suggestion “that months of sitting beside a supposed death-bed creates a bond, even between a silent aunt and the young man who has desperately built a Heath Robinson euthanasia machine to hasten her demise” (www.timesonline.co.uk/article).
Lawrence & Holloman (1998) explores the relationship of two antithetical personalities – one an optimist, the other a pessimist and nihilist. Holloman’s name alludes to the title of T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Hollow Men,” which delineates the modern world as being without values, without conviction, ending “not with a bang, but with a whimper.” In Panych’s play, however, Holloman’s life does end with a “bang”: he is accidentally shot by Lawrence after he has failed at an attempt at suicide. His nihilistic interpretation of life as a joke is in one sense validated, but Lawrence’s final words – that there is some meaning, “a brilliant complex kind of logic” — is also ironically demonstrated, in that all of Holloman’s efforts to destroy Lawrence have resulted in his own destruction. Holloman’s testing of Lawrence with a series of disasters also recalls the trials of Job; in this light, then, the disasters can be read as tests of the human spirit.The Ends of the Earth is a more ambitious investigation of the meaning of life in terms of a journey, again by two men with very different outlooks. One is paranoid, convinced that the other is spying on him, and flees to “the ends of the earth” in an effort to escape him. There they encounter two mysterious women in a rooming house that teeters on the edge of a cliff, who assume various roles to test their ability to survive.
In the monologue Earshot, a man without any perceivable vocation or occupation, isolated in his room, protests against the noise from neighbouring rooms which infiltrates his space, and threatens to drive him mad. Only when he begins to sympathize with the grief of a widow next door, does he begin to experience a reprieve from the torture of the outside world.
Girl in a Goldfish Bowl is set in a Steveston Cannery on the West Coast, the home of a dysfunctional family which the mother continually threatens to leave. The point of view is that of the ingenuous, ebullient young daughter who imagines that her dead goldfish has metamorphosed into a young man from the sea who will save them all. He doesn’t.Panych’s plays are published by Talonbooks.Sources: Christopher Banks and Associates, “About the Playwright,” Earshot programme, Alberta Theatre Projects, 2002; Jerry Wasserman, “Morris Panych,” Modern Canadian Plays Vol. II, 4th ed. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2001. Profile by Anne Nothof, Athabasca University
Betty Quan is the author of plays including the award winning Mother Tongue (nominated for the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama), a unique and innovative play that weaves together Cantonese, English, and sign language. She has previously worked with Green Thumb on Fault Lines, which won an award for significant achievement in community outreach at the 1997 Jessie Richardson Awards.
Betty’s professional credits also encompass writing and story editing for film and television, and she has written for TV shows including Little Bear, Rolie Polie Olie, and Maggie and the Ferocious Beast. She has also published fiction for young readers. She is a graduate of the University of British Columbia and is a member of both the Playwrights Union of Canada and the Writers’ Guild of Canada.
Ian is an accomplished musician, songwriter, producer and playwright. Green Thumb has produced two of Ian’s plays: Land of Trash and Legends of the Northern Swamp. Most well-known for his music, he has recorded several albums and countless soundtracks for theatre and film. In recent years, Ian has had a close association with adventure travel and scientific expeditions. These travels have taken him from the icebergs of Greenland to the underwater world of Antarctica.
Michele is a critically acclaimed playwright fromVancouver, British Columbia. Her work for Green Thumb Theatre for Young People includes The Skinny Lie, Cool, The Invisible Girl, Clean, andRage, which won the Sydney Risk Award for Outstanding New Play and Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Production in 2005. Nominated for more than 10 Jessie Richardson Awards, her other work has toured extensively and includes the hit play, Sexy Laundry, set to open in London’s West End next year.
George F. Walker is a talented playwright and screenwriter who has brought over 20 plays to the world of theatre. As a satirical comedian George started his career in 1972 at the Factory Theatre in Toronto and now has his work produced all over the world.His talents have lead to such achievements as the Order of Canada, two Governor General Award’s, four Dora Mavor Moore Awards and seven Chalmers Awards.